Taboo

April 6, 2009

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Is it taboo? Or is it just . .

Body modification?

“Over the ages, people have squeezed, stretched, and even mutilated themselves for their cultural group.”  National Geographic’s series, “Taboo” is, I think, in it’s third season.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s definitely worth a look.  The series covers all sorts of extreme practices including, of course, body art.  Here is National Geographic’s main page on the show, and here’s a sample:


The latest episode, “Bizarre Bodies” highlights individuals who are extreme body art collectors and artists, including a man who is having the whites of his eyeballs tattooed (pictured above), a young girl getting horns in her forehead, and the art of extreme corsetry.  I was very interested in the scenes where the newly modded people showed their family members their new art.    The young girl with the horns showed her dad, who was very disapproving.  “You just hurt yourself again.”  The guy with the eye tattoing went home to show his wife and mother-in-law, who were interested, if a bit shell-shocked.   But even though their responses varied, what struck me was the sense of accomplishment, pride, and delight shared by the modded people themselves.  It’s this feeling that I think doesn’t translate well into words, and that is a major part of body modification for a lot of people, including me.  Even when their nearest and dearest Just.Don’t.Understand.

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I like the show . . . and I don’t.  It’s valuable for appreciating the wide range of body modification practices world wide, like the neck rings of these Burmese tribal women, and the traditional moko (chin tattoo) of the Maori people of New Zealand.  It is valuable because it shows that widespread practices such as plastic surgery are body modification too.  However, the narration is done in a breathlessly hyperbolic style which gushes.  “And he’s doing it with [gush] no anesthetic! [heavyemphasis] but he insists he felt no discomfort at all!”  Nevertheless, it’s a very well-presented, informative series, that should be on every body art aficionado’s playlist.

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The Anti-Experience: Pt. 1

December 22, 2008

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The Anti-Experience, by Cloud.

Featuring Beautiful Daughter No. 1 and a road trip to Albuquerque to visit Evolution Body Piercing and get a Monroe, nipple, and chest anchor piercings.

Tired of the same old “experience”?

I went to the shop . . . met the piercer . . . he was cool . . . got pierced . . . it hurt like a sonuvabitch! . . . ([or] it didn’t hurt at all!) . . . got new shinies . . . blah blah blah . . . am proud.

Me, too! so — here’s my “anti-experience.”  I like to use mind-maps sometimes–they’re great for note taking, learning, or articulating a concept. (Some delicious tags for mindmaps here.) Note: This is without a doubt the single dorkiest thing I have ever done.

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Road Trip with my Bodymod buddy!

Beautiful Daughter No. 1 is my bodymod buddy. [ETA: I know it’s not “boddy” mod buddy.  No, I can’t change it now–live with it!] She’s provided moral support countless times, designed 2 of my tattoos, and even inked a few lines in another of my tattoos. . It’s so nice to have someone to hold your hand and give you a second opinion; not to mention company for the road.  I’ve driven that trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe many times, but there’s a whole lot of Nothing out here! 4 hours up; get pierced (or tattooed); 4 hours down.

Woo.

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The Studio:

We went to see Noah Babcock at Evolution in Albuquerque. Beautiful place! I love going to piercing only shops.  Noah gave good directions and it was easy to find!

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Here’s Angela at the counter who patiently explained the information about my jewelry three times.

anti-b-100_0785Here’s the beautiful lobby.  Water, plants, fish.  Jewelry! Noah gave me a tour.  He showed me the piercing rooms, sterilization equipment, the decontamination room door–all the stuff.

No, I didn’t ask to see the spore tests. Maybe next time I’ll ask and get a pic.

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Here’s Jamie, another piercer, doing packaging. Work, work, work!

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The Piercer: Noah

Noah came highly recommended and is an APP Piercer who is actively involved in developing and refining piercing techniques and jewelry, and is an industry advocate.  It’s so nice to know that the person about to stick a needle in you is very experienced and skilled. Noah has a terrific client manner, is calm, reassuring and funny.  He made BD#1 and feel I very welcome, before he shoved sharp things in us!

Tune in for Part 2–there’s still the marking, piercing, jewelry, and aftercare to go!


Infamous and Immortal: Miss Bettie Page

December 13, 2008

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How would you feel if you emerged from a years-long stay in a mental hospital to find you were famous all over the world?  That those cootchiecoo pictures you made when you were a young woman in order to eat had rocketed you to immortality and fame? It happened.

What was it about her?  Sure, she was pretty, but so were a lot of other girls.  Sure, she was sexy, and posed nude, and in sexy costumes, but was that enough to rise to iconic status?  Watch this video, and you might begin to see why she captured our attention so vividly and permanently.  Like Marilyn, she had a healthy body and a natural sensuality that shone through the camera. Simultaneously sexy and awkward, charming and crude, natural and contrived, alluring and innocent, she was our Bettie.

ETA:  Okay, I notice the holiday snow, courtesy of WordPress, kind of detracts from the video, so here’s the direct link to YouTube:  Bettie

For another interpretation watch the movie The Notorious Bettie Page where she’s played by actress Gretchen Mol.  (Link courtesy of  Hulu.)

Even the word, “Bettie” is in our language now for a “classic pinup chick that is feminine and hot,” according to the Urban Dictionary.  My favorite images of her are those of artist Olivia de Berardinis. Like the thumbnail above, and this one, my favorite of all:

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No, she didn’t have a tattoo, but she sure inspired many!  There’s a great one featured on the Needled blog. She also inspired many of us to play with toys, rock the rockabilly, and cut our bangs.

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Here’s another person inspired by her beauty:  Beautiful Daughter No. 1, who has a line of jewelry called Wicked Gems, including the classic pinup poses featured here:  Wicked Gems on Etsy(She’s not taking any more orders until after Christmas, but you can still place them.  All orders contribute towards my old age nursing home expenses.) (Wink.)

bettie-4-il_155x12533166887I’m probably the last blogger in the universe to post a memorial to Bettie, but oh well.  Also, your regularly-scheduled weekly profile has been postponed due to the sad passing of Ms. Bettie Mae Page (sorry Chuck!).  Look for it tomorrow.

Images above are taken with my camera from my own Olivia book, Let Them Eat Cheescake. Thanks also to YouTube and Hulu.